Government wants you money and support, it does not want your opposition or voice being heard.

“For example, a typical goal might be “to preserve open space”.  The facilitator does not ask the group to agree because that might provoke opposition.  Questions such as how much open space, where would it be, how would it be acquired are not allowed.  Instead, the facilitator asks a negative question.  He might ask “Does anyone think we should not preserve open space?”  Anyone who answers yes to this question would look ridiculous and be marginalized by the group.  Negative response questions are designed to eliminate opposition.  The sessions do not allow you to question assumptions.”

This is how government controls the debate–they determine the question that everybody needs to agree to, then claim consensus on the project to be started.

Were I present I would interrupt the “facilitator” and ask what the purpose of the meeting is, and is this for agreement or public discussion–then ask how much they are being paid and can we see the memo with the proposed outcome of the meeting per the special interests.  It has to be adversarial–they do not want you to say NO.  This is your government, not theirs.

Another Example of Suppression of Speech in the Bay Area
Submitted by Mimi Steel, 12/28/11   Exclusive to the California Political News and Views

As someone who was very naïve about the political process as conducted by the regional authorities in the Bay Area, I was appalled by my experience at the two Spring 2011 One Bay Area visioning sessions that I attended.  For those unfamiliar, with One Bay Area (,  visioning, and consensus building, a brief explanation is in order.
One Bay Area, also known as Plan Bay Area, is a 25 year plan to design policies for growth that will take us from 2013 through to 2035.  By law, the plan is required to get input from the public.  I went to learn about the plan and to provide my input.  Although the stated purpose was to get input, the reality proved quite different.
One Bay Area’s predetermined objective is to impose the template of sustainability and smart growth policies. The methodology for that imposition is the use of the Delphi Technique, developed by the RAND Corporation in the 1960s.  The two code words associated with the technique are “visioning” and “consensus”. Visioning is the process that consists of a series of meetings led by a facilitator to get the participants to agree to a predetermined outcome.  Consensus is the process through which objections to a proposal are extinguished.  Consensus is not agreement.  It is the absence of expressed opposition.  For example, a typical goal might be “to preserve open space”.  The facilitator does not ask the group to agree because that might provoke opposition.  Questions such as how much open space, where would it be, how would it be acquired are not allowed.  Instead, the facilitator asks a negative question.  He might ask “Does anyone think we should not preserve open space?”  Anyone who answers yes to this question would look ridiculous and be marginalized by the group.  Negative response questions are designed to eliminate opposition.  The sessions do not allow you to question assumptions.  Here is a discussion of open space as it unfolded in a Spring 2011 visioning session: This is the opposite of representative government.
Since very few people knowingly would vote to subvert their property rights as guaranteed by Article V of the US Constitution, the MTC-ABAG who sponsor the Plan, and their enablers ( Silicon Valley Community Foundation, TransformCA, and Greenbelt Alliance) must resort to stealth and deception through the use of the Delphi Technique.  Visioning and consensus are the tools in their toolbox to herd opinions to a predetermined outcome. Sounds unbelievable.  Most people trust government.  I did too.  Several sessions were videotaped showing on the one hand, a (false) interest in our input and on the other, when we provided input, being shut down and ignored.  This video is an edited composite of several sessions
When we did question, we were given a time out and compared to the facilitator’s 5 year old child.  How insulting !!
Perhaps the final straw for me and the impetus for this article are the upcoming visioning sessions scheduled for January 2012.  In the first set of sessions in Spring 2011, one just registered with  name and contact information.  In this upcoming round of sessions, after you provide your contact information a screen asking for “Affiliation” pops up.  It asks you to choose between being an advocate for business interests, environmental interests, public health interests, reduced role for government, social justice interests, concerned individual, elected official, public section.  Could it be that the organizers are trying to filter out any disagreement after the disaster of several Spring 2011 sessions?  Why was the affiliation form required for this set of visioning sessions and not the Spring 2011 set?  Are they trying to skew the attendance away from people who support limited government and are concerned citizens?  I ask these questions because MTC has a policy committee for citizen input composed completely of social justice and environmental justice people ( ) but there is no policy committee representing concerned citizens , limited government advocates, suburban or rural property owners, motor vehicle users, or business interests.  Sounds pretty suspicious to me.  Is this even legal to ask the affiliation of those attending a public meeting ?  Is it legal to limit attendance.
The visioning sessions are scheduled to hold a maximum of 100 people per county or a total of 900 people.  Even giving the organizers the benefit of the doubt about their intentions, one has to wonder if it is realistic to allow 900 people to make planning decisions that will have profound effect on the area over 25 years for the 7million people in the Bay Area.  What happened to representative government?  What happened to voting?  What happened to honest and open debate?
I believe that MTC and ABAG owe the public an explanation for the deceptive practices of visioning and consensus.  I am not an attorney,Mr Heminger, but it seems to me that you and your agency are in serious violation of the Brown Act for public meetings.  As Executive Director of MTC do you care to defend you actions?  I eagerly await your response.

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I am all against counties taking folks right to shelter which is necessary for life, the ability to build their own shelter, necessary for liberty, and the right to engage in activities within the confines of their own home of their individual choosing, even if that is in conflict to the taste or wants of their neighbors, which is necessary to the pursuit of happiness.
Yet I disagree to almost all of your opinions on sustainable development, green belts, mass transit etc. I am all for “sustainable development” and by definition alone I agree that the way zoning and the code works is not it. Yet I believe destroying our life support systems is the worst assault on our freedoms, far worse than even the building code.

Not protecting and preserving our life support systems creates scarcity, disease, depression, serious and often disastrous effects on agriculture, biodiversity, the economy and human health. These things lead to a real and eventually unavoidable lack of freedoms notably taken more often from the people who were in no place to make choices to prevent their freedom or lives from being taken from them. That takes freedom and choices from others so one person can do what they want and in a way no court or lawyer can ever give back. I am not for that.

You are against mass transit but not roads? Greenbelts but not industrial zoning? For example, I believe forcing regular people to comply with things like energy efficiency is a violation of our basic rights as well, but forcing a corporation to do so is not. I agree with open space and green belts as we are not the only living things on this planet and we need our life support systems thriving and intact for all of us to life happy healthy lives, but believe zoning is causing far more harm than good.

To sum up I think the code should be limited to very serious threats to neighboring properties and the overall environment only and it should be free to get permits which would take away the conflict of interest. Enforcement should be limited to basic violations like poisoning of water supplies or unsafe public buildings, end of story. I also believe the movement towards these freedoms would be hastened by removing less well thought out opinions on sustainability and the real environmental consequences of a let anyone do anything as long as its their land attitude, as many like myself could not feel in good conscience able to support you on those things but are hoping for an opportunity to get involved with an organized effort against these fascist laws and support your more core and connective logical views.

January 15, 2012 at 10:50 pm

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I think the federal oversight on the actions of MTC and ABAG is sorely lacking. Ted Matley ought to get more involved. I attended a San Francisco visioning session on January 5 at the SF Conference Center, and it was everything appalling just as Mimi Steel in her article says it was. There were way too many assumptions that couldn’t be and weren’t allowed to be questioned. Although a limited number of the public were “allowed” to attend the session, there was no public debate at all. It was one of the shallowest and yet most calculated public meetings I’d ever attended in my life.

January 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

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Karen Bracken

unfortunately these plans are not limited to CA. They are doing this all over America and most are unaware. And when you try to inform people of what is happening they would rather not know. But we have made great strides in the past year. We can only hope another year will wake up enough Americans and make enough people angry to the point they will stand up and fight. People we are losing our freedom. Correction……..we are GIVING our freedom away. We have had millions give their lives to protect this freedom and we are spitting on them everyday by our ignorance and our compliance. I give the people in CA a lot of credit for finally standing up and fighting back. We need to pump it up to the next level though. Obama is on a speed chase to accelerate the plan before the 20th Anniversary of the Rio summit of 1992 which will take place in June of this year and you can believe Obama will sell us up the river during that conference.

January 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm

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Jay Smith

The One Bay Area Plan is designed to take away private property rights. MTC and ABAG are seeking approval from the public to spend $200 billion dollars of transportation funds on high density stack and pack housing next to mass transit. Mass transit is hopelessly underutilized and therefore must be subsidized. Less than 3% of the population currently uses it. MTC says that dense housing is necessary and will reduce GHG (Green House Gas) emissions, but what they don’t tell you is that ALL of the developers will get GHG waivers. They will not have to perform any GHG calculations whatsoever.

You have to ask yourself why a regional transportation authority is responsible for telling us how and where we should live?

The regional plan will transform all nine Bay Area counties into high density (4 to 6 story) stack and packs with retail and business space below without the vote of the public. This plan calls for shrinking the UGB (Urban Growth Boundary) so that only property owners within this arbitrary boundary can build on their properties. If you have property outside of this boundary you will not be able to build on your property. This plan also calls for rezoning much of the properties within the URBAN growth boundary to mixed multi-use. This will severely impact current property owners. If you currently own a property (industrial, residential, etc) and this property is near mass transit or future planned mass transit your property will be rezoned to mixed multi-use. If you try to sell or change/improve your property you must bring it into conformance with the new zoning. This will cost you tons of money. MTC is also advocating for rezoning of private property to what they call “Open Space”. This is the conversion of someones’ private property from usable to restricted. This is done without any compensation to the current owner. This amounts to an administrative taking. All of this is being done without a vote from the public.

This total transformation is being planned by regional planners and stakeholders behind closed doors. MTC is only holding ONE

public workshop per County and they are capping the participation at 100 people per meeting! That means roughly 900 people will be deciding the future and fate for over 7.5 million people in the Bay Area.

Unbelievable. Don’t be fooled by Sustainable Development. It has nothing to do with the environment. It’s all about the $$$$$$$

$200 Billion dollars is all these people need to sell you and your family’s future out.

January 10, 2012 at 7:55 am

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